Taxpayer theft by BUS

(Written by my 15 year-old intern)

By: Sarah Welander

Bus systems are a wonderful way for towns like Bloomington-Normal to transport people. People who don’t have cars use them and elderly people who can’t drive use them. There is no way to lie and say buses aren’t a good thing, but why is there so much money being spent on the buses that aren’t carrying that many people?

Source:  See May 3, 2016 Packet

According to the Connect Transits year-to-date report, only 22 people get on the bus every hour. Now, this number has gone down a little from last year, but not an extreme amount. Then the amount of people who ride the fixed routes daily is 9,987 people. My first problem with that number is if around 22 people get on the buses every hour, how can 9,987 get on it in a day?  Now I’m assuming this is because there are certain times that more people are riding the bus, like in the morning to get to work and in the evening to get back. But still, if those numbers were so much larger, the average would be higher. If you were to multiply the average of 22 people per hour by 24 you wouldn’t get anywhere near 9,987 people and the fixed routes don’t even run 24 hours. My other problem with this is that the number has gone down about 1,100 people.


Now let’s look at the revenue. In the month of March, the buses made $129,561.46.   Now in that same month, they spent 765,024.10. When you compare the two numbers, there seems to be no way to make up for the amount of money they spent. Magically, there is. In March, they got $669,703 from the government. $522,077 of that came from the State of Illinois. The state of Illinois doesn’t have any money to just be handing out to these types of things. They don’t even have a budget. The remaining $147,626 came from the federal government, because they aren’t in enough debt already.

Opperating Budget

Opperating Assistance

Now the bus system is trying to change their bus routes. They said that this would have a 19% riders increase. So instead of 22 riders an hour, they will have 25. This isn’t going to change much for them though. They will have to spend more on gas and pay their drivers more for the extra drivers. So they will probably continue to have the government keep them in business.


23 thoughts on “Taxpayer theft by BUS

  1. I can’t understand WHY they need to travel on U.S. 150 then go WEST on College or even more crazy, go NORTH on Ropp Road past the Rader Farms. Are they hauling livestock on the side? Whoever did the logistics on the routes has NO understating of WHERE people are and where they NEED to go. Even the ones at Eastland mall are hardly EVER half full, and that’s to a MALL!


    1. Well students dont need to go to the malls anymore they have uppity town to fulfill all of their wildest dreams.


      1. Bike lanes/Constitution Trail are to be used for promoting a healthy quality of life–not riding a bus for less than a mile.


  2. I cannot comprehend almost 10000 riders per day. They are probably falsifying numbers to qualify for the state and federal money.


  3. Even BAD MATH don’t add up here! IF they have 22 people PER HOUR that ride at $1, that’s $22/hr, so WHAT do the drivers make, then there’s fuel, depreciation-on the buses AND roads! and the cost of the bus itself. It’d be MUCh cheaper to use smaller busses and give FREE rides! OH, but we’re getting FREE money from the State and Federal Gov’t! Gotta LOVE and SPEND that “FREE” money, huh ? God bless socialism!


  4. I am all for some subsidizing of public transportation. It’s a good way to help those who otherwise couldn’t work because they cannot afford a car. However, Connect Transit is over subsidized. Their buses are never even half full and yet they keep buying bigger and bigger buses. I wonder how long until we get articulated buses like Chicago has.


  5. Perhaps that 22 per hour is per route. Tjey have numerous routes. In addition, you haven’t accounted for the monies paid by ISU and Heartland to carry students and employees back and forth. In the case of ISU, the monies are paid from student fees.


  6. I would guess that the bus report implies that 22 riders get on each bus each hour. Don’t know how many hours each bus operates, or how many buses there are, but would probably bet the total calculated number would be close to what they say. But that doesn’t change the rest of your article!#!


    1. Given the following parameters:
      22 boardings/hour X 8 hours/day = 176 boardings/day X 15 routes = 2,640 boardings
      22 boardings/hour X 12 hours/day = 264 boardings/day X 15 routes = 3,960 boardings


      1. The numbers provided in the report by Connect Transit really are insufficient to come to any reasonable conclusion. No matter what kind of calculations, they do not add up to 9,987. The specificity of the reported number is suspect and refers to total boardings not total riders. I have to agree with Elizabeth. They are falsifying figures to guarantee funding just like the Home Rule Sales Tax dollars are being used to leverage more matching funds from Federal or State grants.


  7. As an Uber driver in town, the city could contract with us and we would deliver more efficient service and probably less of a cost.


  8. Uber or a taxi would be cheaper and give better service. We are all subsidizing this bloated service and it needs to be examined just as the article indicates.


  9. Funny you folks mention UBER. I was JUST talking with one, and the rate varies by peak demand and such, but is roughly 80 cents per mile in peak, and others riders drop the cost, NOW, IF there is NO UBER in the area, one could get a LIVERY license and do it even CHEAPER, say for instance you wanted to take elderly people from out in the county to doctor appointments or to jobs in town, WITHOUT the hassle of changing routes!



      Our rates are regulated by the City of Bloomington. They are:
      • $2.50 when you enter the vehicle.
      • $.40 each additional 1/6th mile.
      • $.50 for each additional passenger.
      • $.50 for wait time.
      • Senior citizens are given a 15% discount.

      I believe UBER has to charge the same rates since they are controlled by the same ordinance.


  10. During the summer I spend a lot of time on my porch swing and watch traffic pass. My home is on 2 bus routes that come by every half hour. I always count the number of people on the buses and would say that 4 would be an average number of riders per bus. Now I am noticing a larger rock star size bus being added to the fleet. From what I see, the city could get by with mini vans. The State Farm van has more riders than the huge city buses.


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